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MoSGA Messenger, The Official Blog of the Missouri State Genealogical Association
Serving Missouri ancestor seekers since 7 November 2007

Tom Pearson, Editor

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

MILKING AN OBIT

Genealogists don't always seize every research opportunity that comes their way. For example: sometimes obits can be real gold mines of information. Witness this obit reprinted in Fayette Facts 37:3 (September 2008):

MEIER, Mrs. Herman nee ROELLING, was born 28 March 1845 in Saxton, Germany, and came to America at age 18. She married Herman MEIER at Elizabethtown, NJ, and they moved to Vandalia 56 years ago. Her husband died eleven years ago. Surviving are her sons, Frank and Edward MEIER of Vandalia. A daughter, Bertha TORKELSON, died 32 years ago in Carlyle. Burial was in South Hill Cemetery. [Source: Vandalia Union, 13 July 1933.]

Here’s a point-by-point look at the incredible number of research opportunities suggested by a single obituary:

MEIER, Mrs. Herman nee ROELLING [1], was born 28 March 1845 [2] [3] in Saxton, Germany [4], and came to America at age 18 [5] [6]. She married Herman MEIER [7] [8] at Elizabethtown, NJ [9] [10] [11], and they moved to Vandalia 56 years ago [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]. Her husband died eleven years ago [18] [19] [20] [21] [22]. Surviving are her sons, Frank [23] and Edward MEIER [24] of Vandalia. A daughter, Bertha TORKELSON [25] [26] [27] [28], died 32 years ago in Carlyle [29] [30] [31] [32]. Burial was in South Hill Cemetery [33] [34] [35] [36]. [Source: Vandalia Union, 13 July 1933.]

Opportunities for further research:

[1] A Roelling family history.
[2] A church record of her birth (Saxton, Germany).
[3] A civil record of her birth (Saxton, Germany).
[4] A history of Saxton, Germany.
[5] Record of emigration / permission to exit old country.
[6] Record of immigration to U.S. (probably port of NY).
[7] Herman MEIER in 1860 NJ census (Union County).
[8] Herman MEIER Civil War service record (NJ regiment).
[9] Elizabethtown, NJ marriage record (Union County, NJ).
[10] Elizabethtown, NJ marriage record (Elizabethtown newspaper)
[11] Herman MEIER in 1870 NJ census record (Union County).
[12] Vandalia land acquisition record (Fayette County).
[13] Herman MEIER in 1880 IL census (Fayette County).
[14] Herman MEIER in 1900 IL census (Fayette County).
[15] Herman MEIER in 1910 IL census (Fayette County).
[16] Herman MEIER in 1920 IL census (Fayette County).
[17] MEIER in Fayette County history.
[18] Herman MEIER civil death record (Fayette County, IL).
[19] Herman MEIER church death record (Vandalia, IL).
[20] Herman MEIER burial record (Vandalia, IL).
[21] Herman MEIER newspaper obit (Vandalia Union newspaper).
[22] Herman MEIER Civil War pension record.
[23] Frank MEIER in 1930 IL census (Fayette County).
[24] Edward MEIER in 1930 IL census (Fayette County).
[25] MEIER-TORKELSON marriage (in Fayette or Clinton counties in IL).
[26] TORKELSON in 1880 IL census (Clinton County).
[27] TORKELSON in 1900 IL census (Clinton County).
[28] TORKELSON in Clinton County history.
[29] A church record of her death (Carlyle, IL).
[30] A civil record of her death (Clinton County, IL).
[31] Bertha TORKELSON newspaper obit (Carlyle, IL).
[32] Bertha TORKELSON newspaper obit (Vandalia Union newspaper).
[33] Mrs. Herman MEIER in 1930 IL census (Fayette County).
[34] Mrs. Herman MEIER burial record (South Hill Cemetery, Vandalia, IL).
[35] A church record of her death (Vandalia, IL).
[36] A civil record of her death (Fayette County, IL).

Note: Let us know if you spot additional research opportunities suggested by the facts presented in this obit!

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